Domino and WebDAV

As a side task, the other day I was asked to look into WebDAV on Domino. The idea is to enable the use of more advanced web dev tools than Domino Designer (eg Dreamweaver) whilst retaining the benefits of Domino (easy deployment and load balancing).

Notes/Domino can host web pages in a couple of ways: firstly as Forms and Pages created in Designer, and secondly as file resources. It is possible to host an entire site as File Resources, without needing to do and development work in Designer.

However, file resource management in Designer is very primitive - there's no easy way to import a directory structure or to use an external editor on many files at once. Enter WebDAV.

I found some helpful info over at Codestore which I passed on to our Domino Admin team. It seems to cover the server setup well, so I won't repeat that here. There are some lessons that might be of use though:

  • When using Windows Explorer, make sure you specify the port, eg

http://server.domain:80/dir/file.nsf$files

  • Don't be tempted to put a slash between .nsf and $files
  • Enable Design Locking (first option on the Design tab of database properties), otherwise you cannot create new files

After that small amount of fidding, I now have Explorer access to the file resources part of my NSF. I can drag and drop a directory in there, and all files, including the structure, are created in the NSF.

Explorer doesn't have the best WebDAV support though - it seems a bit buggy and slow. Dreamweaver has in-built WebDAV support, but I'll look at other options for an explorer-type client. Hopefully there's an Eclipse plugin that does what I want.

I've only partially tested how well the webserver works when serving up from only file resources, but it does seem to work. One issue I've come across (which may be fixable) is that you must specify index.html, rather than just the directory name. Depending on how the site is designed, that may be quite an issue.

So far though, I'm relatively impressed. Even if only used for uploading large javascript libraries (eg AJAX) it's going to make life a lot easier. Now of course we just need to get it past Security....

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